Bad things in life are inevitable.

Some instances are self-inflicted because of our own poor decisions. Other cases involve negative things that are completely outside of our control – yet we still have to face the consequences.

In both situations, once the proverbial shit hits the fan, you have only two choices:

  • Replay the situation again and again, wishing it was different
  • Focus on what you control

No matter how bad our situation, we always control:

  • Our focus
  • Our attitude
  • Our actions
  • Our effort

The decision to whine and complain that “life isn’t fair?” 100% our choice.

The decision to blame someone else for why we behaved in a specific (negative) way? 100% our choice.

The decision to let a setback break us? 100% our choice.

I’m not trying minimize your situation or any adversity you’re facing. Life is hard. There are some really shitty situations that great people go through – and it’s not their fault.

Injury. Laid off. Doctor’s diagnosis. Divorce. You name it. Life is full of trials and tribulations. But how we respond to those situations will always be up to us.

  • We control what attitude we will have walking through the fires.
  • We control if we’ll lock ourselves in our room and wish things were different – or if we’ll take action to change our situation.
  • We control if we mail in our efforts or if we choose to give our best.
  • We control whether we focus on the past failure – or what we still control.

We control. No one else does it for us.

If you get your eyes off of what just happened, you can start focusing on your next move. You don’t control the past – you have zero control over changing what happened then. But what happens next?

That’s 100% on you.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was once asked what his favorite Super Bowl memory was. His response?

“The next one.”

Brady’s answer is the perfect example of a Competitor knowing what matters most is not what was – but what’s ahead, because what’s ahead is all that you control. Here’s the greatest player of all-time at his position. He’s won multiple championships and lost multiple ones. He knows the joy of winning back-to-back titles and the pain of missing perfection by just three points.

He’s not content with what successes he had prior or consumed with where he fell short. He’s refusing to let past failures & heartbreak define his today. He’s fixated on the one thing he controls: what he does next.

It’s not about your setback. It’s about the lessons you can glean from that situation and what action you take next. 

Your past is a place for lessons & learning – not living. What matters most is what you do next.